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What’s happening as Pro 12 League looms

By the Editor

HERE are the latest news releases as the Guinness Pro 12 season approaches.
NEW Zealander Wayne Pivac, who joined the region last month, will take over from former Irish international Simon Easterby after the Scarlets agreed to release the current head coach from his role to allow him to pursue one of his biggest career ambitions.
Pivac, who was involved with Auckland Rugby for an impressive 15 years, also led Fiji as Director of Rugby for the national side from 2004-2006 coaching both the 15’s and 7’s including through a World Cup. During his time with Fiji, the Sevens team won the 2005 Rugby World Cup.
He was Head Coach of Northland Rugby Union earning them promotion in his first season at the helm in 1997. He won three provincial titles during his tenure with Auckland with back-to-back provincial titles in New Zealand in 2002 and 2003. He was named NZRU Coach of the Year in 2003.
Commenting on the news Pivac said: “Joining the Scarlets was an exciting challenge for me. I am honoured that the Scarlets have the faith and belief in me to take the squad forward and build on the good work and solid foundations that Simon and his team have put in place.
“The supporters here are probably no different to back in New Zealand. They’re very passionate and love their rugby and really want the team to do well. I’m looking forward to hopefully giving them something to cheer about this season.
Pivac said: “Training has been fantastic so far, obviously the weather’s helped! It’s been very much like home to be honest. Now we’ve had 3 weeks with the team, the players are responding to what we’re putting in and I’m looking forward to the season starting. Players are itching to implement some of the new plays that we’re throwing in and we’re itching to see them do that. There are exciting times ahead.”
Scarlets announced earlier that Byron Hayward will join the new-look Scarlets coaching team as Defence Coach.
The former Llanelli and Wales international will take up his new role, working with new Head Coach Wayne Pivac and the coaching team at Parc y Scarlets in time for the start of the season.
Hayward, 45, has a wealth of coaching experience having coached Ebbw Vale, Sale Sharks, Dragons regional age grade sides and most recently Wales Under 20 as he took over the reins from Scarlets Scrum Coach Danny Wilson. He has joined the Scarlets from the Welsh Rugby Union where his role was National Academy Skills Coach, developing players both technically and tactically.
An accomplished player at fly half, Hayward represented Wales on two occasions and won the league with Llanelli in 1999. On retiring he had scored a then joint record 2535 league points.
Hayward said; “As a new coaching team we’re not expecting success overnight, we have to put building blocks in place but we’ll work hard over time to make an impact and we want to play against the best and beat the best.”
LEINSTER have announced the signing Ben Te’o, who has played with the West Tigers and the Brisbane Broncos in the past and was selected in this year’s State of Origin three game series with Queensland,. He marked a significant career milestone last Thursday when he lined out for his 150th National Rugby League (NRL) appearance against the Brisbane Broncos.
Born in New Zealand, he made his senior international debut with Samoa in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup against France scoring two tries.
He will join Leinster Rugby once his season with the Rabbitohs concludes
CONNACHT’S squad were back in Galway this week following a rigorous week-long training camp in France which culminated in the first of the province’s pre-season’s games against Clermont Auvergne on Friday night.
There were some injury concerns arising from the week, the details of which were confirmed today by Head Physio Gavin Malouf.
Forwards Andrew Browne and Aly Muldowney both picked up injuries on the training field. Browne, who sustained a meniscal tear to his knee is due to see a surgeon today but is looking at 4 – 5 weeks on the sidelines.
Second row Aly Muldowney will also be out of action for up to five weeks with an ankle sprain.
From match action, winger Matt Healy suffered a small hand fracture and is now looking at a four-week rehab programme before he is available again. Centre Dave McSharry will be forced to sit out training this week due to a mild ankle sprain incurred during the game.
In better news, Jake Heenan, Ronan Loughney and Jack Carty have all resumed full training and are in line to feature in Connacht’s next and final preseason game against Wasps on August 23rd.
This week, Robbie Henshaw, Kieran Marmion and Rodney Ah You were all involved in Ireland’s three-day training camp in Carton House and returned to Galway on Wednesday.
Despite last week-end’s result, Head Coach Pat Lam found the fixture a ‘beneficial and worthwhile exercise’.

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